By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Apr 10: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has announced a RM1.1 billion worth of Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 2.0 package to specifically help the business community in Sarawak.
This second package is the continuation of the RM1.15 billion package announced on Mar 23, 2020 which involves Sarawak government’s expenditure amounting RM182.12 million.
“I wish to stress here that it is not necessary for the Sarawak government to table an additional supply bill for all the aid packages that have been announced.
“This is because the funds are already made available via the contingency fund as approved by the DUN in the 2020 budget,” said Abang Johari.
He said since his announcement of the BKSS 1.0, he had received feedback from various business associations and chambers of commerce who have requested the government of Sarawak to consider assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-enterprises as well as hawkers and petty traders.
“I am aware that SMEs are key drivers to Sarawak’s economy. The SMEs that make up over 75 per cent of our business sector, contributing 20 per cent to Sarawak GDP and provide about 600,000 jobs for Sarawakians.
“I know entrepeneurs by definition are people who take risks to set up businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of making profits and they are obviously important drivers to our economy.
“Therefore, I feel it is important for the GPS Government to be responsive to the problems faced by SMEs, micro-enterprises as well as hawkers and petty traders so that they can remain resilient in the face of economic pressures that are affecting us all,” said Abang Johari while announcing BKSS 2.0 at Wisma Bapa Malaysia after the cabinet meeting today.
He said according to SME Corp, SMEs include the services, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining and quarrying industries.
For the manufacturing sector, he said SMEs are firms with sales turnover of not exceeding RM50 million or number of full-time employees not exceeding 200 workers.
As for the services and other sectors, SMEs are firms with sales turnover of not exceeding RM20 million or number of full-time employees not exceeding 75 workers.
“One of the main challenges faced in the business sector is cash flow. Therefore, I have requested my Deputy, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to engage with NGOs, business associations, chambers of commerce and a number of local financial institutions to find solutions to the problems that our local SMEs are facing.
“I am happy that all of them have provided insights on how this deadly virus has affected their day to day business activities. They all have voiced their needs for government interventions and assistance.
“My office through EPU (Economic Planning Unit) Sarawak has compiled all the requests and data submitted by the respective associations for my Cabinet to deliberate and make decisions based on our capacities.
“As a result of all these engagements and the information gathered, my cabinet and I, are happy to announce today additional measures for BKSS, that I term as BKSS 2.0. This second aid package, valued at RM1.1 billion is to ease the financial burden of our SMEs, Micro Enterprises as well as hawkers and petty traders to assure continuity of the enterprises in this trying times. The Government is considering four measures under BKSS 2.0,” said Abang Johari.
He said BKSS 2.0 will inject a total of RM1.1 billion of liquidity into Sarawak’s economy and will drive domestic business activities.
Meanwhile, he also stressed that all ongoing strategic infrastructure projects and initiatives in Sarawak that were approved such as the building of state water supply grid, coastal roads and bridges will continue the moment Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted
“I assure these strategic long term projects will strengthen and sustain our economic growth.
“I would like to assure that the Sarawak Government will continue to be transparent in its spending and all actions taken are based on the provisions of the law and will continue a prudent financial practice and good fiscal discipline to ensure that the State’s financial position remains strong and manageable,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily